Spring begins Wednesday. It is a time for gardens. Wildlife gardening is where you purposefully try to attract small creatures, birds and insects to your property through a “planned wilderness” approach. You provide foliage, nuts, berries, cover and places to raise young. In exchange, it reverses some small bit of the planetary mess caused by humans.

The steps are simple. Leave as much of the landscape as possible the way nature intended. Cultivate native plants. Dead wood is good. Let perennial stalks stay over the winter and let leaves fall where they may. All provide food and shelter for insects and birds. A water source is also desirable.

We may be at the top of the food chain, but without pollinators, the food won’t last long. Avoid pesticides and keep in mind M. Night Shamalyan’s film "The Happening," where plants finally get enough of our toxic spraying and spew some of their own, so to speak. Tit for tat.

You need not have a degree in horticulture to wildlife garden — even I can do it — and when the plant apocalypse comes, I’m good. I have habituated backyard birds that visit every day and the front bed is what amounts to a private aviary. My town house lot boasts squirrels, wasps, bees and, slowly but surely, even a few butterflies. I’ve watched a new young beetle make its first foray into the world. All that’s required is that you stay your hand.

By the way, I have a possum also. He’s slow-moving, and prefers to avoid all confrontations. When cornered, he falls silent and plays dead.

I call him Roger Goodell.


Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at Fete@theadvocate.com.

King’s Luncheon

Dr. Thomas Montgomery began his own walk on the wild side as King Gabriel LXXX with the traditional luncheon at the Cajundome Convention Center. An army of servers and shuttles awaited the VIPs who posed for pictures upstairs, while the ladies committee pinned the royal boutonnieres. Montgomery is the latest in a long line of Carnival royalty and was attended by a retinue of Gabriel gents, among them Tommy Hightower, Robert Foard, Michael Judice and Kyle Gideon. The Rev. Hampton Davis gave the invocation.

King’s Breakfast

King Gabriel LXXX Thomas Montgomery continued his Mardi Gras trek with a City Club breakfast before his parade. Resplendent in his regalia and escorted by his wife and the Marshal’s Office, he arrived to dine with The King’s Men and enjoy a traditional jazz brunch. Guests did likewise and went away with royal swag — beads and bird whistles — and in the mix were Jan and Jimbo Lochridge, Gene and Julia Lognion and limo driver Amos Fruge, ever our Mardi Gras man.

Queen’s Luncheon

Still the most stunning ladies event in Lafayette. The Petroleum Club hosted Queen Evangeline LXXX Madeline Busch amid pale pink roses and hydrangeas for days, maybe the most showstopping floral décor in recent recollection. Guests dined on crab bisque, Crepes Evangeline and La Reine Tarte. Abby Busch joked with sisterly affection, and there were pretty maids all in a row. Sudden winter weather brought out the fur coats, but inside all was spring, including Courtney Trahan, Madeleine Thibeaux, Selia and Martha Abshire, Blair and Shelley Sibley and Anita Saitta in her springtime-in-New York dress.

Queen’s Breakfast

Is she beautiful or what? Movie-pretty Queen Evangeline LXXX Madeline Busch greeted her girls at Café Vermilionville before adjourning to the parade stands. Accompanied by their mothers, royal maids entered to the jazz notes of music man Ryan Vicknair, posed for pictures and sipped Champagne, among them Betsy and Claire Koke, Shelley and Blair Sibley and Jillian and Julie Verzwyvelt. Equally memorable: Monique Gideon’s pale pink, pearl-and-flower embellished sneakers. If that isn’t some Mardi Gras, we don’t know what is.